Friday, March 7, 2008

The Baby Bottle Dilemma

You'd THINK that buying and using baby bottles would be easy? OH NO.

As I've discovered, that cute plastic bottle you are buying MIGHT (or might not) contain a chemical called bisphenol-A (BPA) which MIGHT (or might not) start to leach out when the bottle is heated/cleaned/sterilized and that MIGHT (or might not) be dangerous to your baby in terms of promoting cancer, etc.

The "mights" are what make this scenario really stressful. Depending on who you talk to and what you read, you get totally different messages, like ...
"Bottles MUST be boiled to sterilize them"
"Bottles CAN'T be boiled ... it will release the bisphenol-A"

The only thing I know for SURE is that GLASS BOTTLES are ok, so my mom dredged up 2 of my bottles from 35 years ago (thank goodness my family is a bunch of pack-rats) and luckily EvenFlo still makes some glass bottles (Evenflo 4-Ounce Classic Glass Nurser 3 Pack, unfortunately no longer Made in U.S.A. but Hecho en Mexico) with the awesome product description of "Why risk having your baby ingest chemicals when you don't have to?" I am not the only one to have thought of glass, by the way; there is an article from April 2007 talking about the run on glass bottles after California released a toxicology report on the baby bottle issue.

However, even EvenFlo admits that plastic bottles are better as baby gets older and wants to carry/hold the bottle themselves. So, I set about researching plastic bottles. I found a good article that was originally written by Consumer Reports and is now on the site, talking about the bisphenol-A bottle issue; here are the highlights:

* The FDA does not believe there is an issue with bisphenol-A, so these bottles are still on the market
* BPA leaches from bottles made of polycarbonate (clear, shiny) when they are exposed to heat (microwave, dishwasher, boiling, etc). Bottles made of glass or polyethylene (dull/opaque) don't have the issue
* As you may already have some bottles, and not know what they are made of, the advice given in the article is this:

---- Dispose of: All clear, shiny plastic baby bottles, unless the manufacturer tells you they're not made of polycarbonate.

---- Replace with: Bottles made of glass or an opaque, less-shiny plastic (the plastic bottles are often colored).

The Angry Toxicologist (my favorite blogger) has had a few comments on the BPA issue over the past year that I found enjoyable and interesting, too.

In the meantime, as I wait for my wonderful glass bottles to arrive from Amazon, I am left pondering my NUK starter set, which is 3 cute, clear plastic bottles. I wrote Gerber to confirm what the bottles were made of -- hoping that I could still use them -- and here is their response:
Safety is our top priority at Gerber Products Company. We have a history of helping parents raise happy, healthy babies, since 1928.

We are aware of recent media reports focusing on polycarbonate and Bisphenol-A (BPA). Bisphenol-A is a key component used to make polycarbonate plastic.

We would like to help consumers understand why leading manufacturers of baby bottles, including Gerber, have concluded that polycarbonate is safe.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has considered relevant data available regarding the use of polycarbonate and has concluded that products made with polycarbonate are safe for use as intended.
Additionally, other leading scientific and regulatory authorities in Europe have concluded that the use of food contact polycarbonate for baby bottles is safe. In a recent letter to FIT Pregnancy magazine, the FDA stated that it sees no reason to ban or otherwise restrict the currently authorized food contact applications of polycarbonate.

The following Gerber Bottles are made of polycarbonate:

NUK® Orthodontic - 5oz

NUK® Orthodontic - 10oz ComfortHold® - 5oz with Slow Flow
ComfortLatch® Nipple
ComfortHold® - 9oz with Slow Flow
ComfortLatch® Nipple
Preemie - 2.5 oz

The following Gerber Bottles are not made of polycarbonate:

Gerber Clear View
Gerber Fashion Tint
Gerber Gentle Flow

Best wishes from your friends @

Well, thanks for the note, Gerber. And I'm sure there are a lot of people who agree.

However ...

It took my husband and I three years to finally make our little boy. If there is a chance that he might be hurt by these plastics, we simply can't take a chance on them. So I'm going to go out and spend the oodles of money for a few of these new non-BPA plastic bottles (e.g. Medela makes some that match the breast pumps, and Born Free makes some as well) and a couple of glass ones. And, some lucky person on Craig's List -- a person who thinks that the BPA scare is a bunch of tree huggin' crap -- is going to get a great deal on a lot of plastic bottles.

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